Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 27th 2013 Contents A39
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MELBOURNE---Mitchell Johnson made the
most of the second new ball, taking two late
wickets in front of a world record crowd yes-
terday to leave England on a precarious 226-
6 at stumps on the opening day of the fourth
Ashes test against Australia.
Kevin Pietersen had two big reprieves to
bring up a half century and anchor a dour Eng-
land batting performance before Johnson (2-
59) struck shortly before the close of play to
remove Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow. He was
unbeaten on 67 at the close of play.
Ryan Harris (2-32) claimed the important
wicket of Ian Bell (27) earlier in the evening
session to add to his dismissal of Joe Root after
"I think it s just our day," Harris said. "I think
we ll take honors, but it s a pretty close day."
A crowd of 91,092---a record for a single day
of test cricket---attended the opening day at
the Melbourne Cricket Ground, surpassing the
90,800 also set at the MCG in 1961.
"Australia were very good and they bowled
well in partnerships again as they have all series,"
said Bell, who joined Michael Clarke with more
than 1,000 runs for 2013 before he was dis-
"The runs weren t the easiest, but you have
to earn the right to score runs. Hopefully Kev s
done a lot of hard work today and he can push
on tomorrow "
After successive top-order collapses this
series, England maintained a cautious approach
on a MCG wicket that offered as much to the
batsmen as the bowlers.
Pietersen, who has been widely criticized for
several cheap dismissals this series, stifled his
usual expansive style and was helped by more
than a little luck.
The big-hitting South African-born batsman
had a reprieve shortly before tea, escaping on
six when substitute fielder Nathan Coulter-
Nile stepped over the boundary rope as he held
a catch at deep backward square off Harris
bowling. The result was six runs for England
instead of a wicket for Australia.
"It s one of those things where obviously
just misjudged where the rope was," Harris
said. "He took a good catch, he just couldn t
make it stick."
Pietersen got a second life after tea when
George Bailey dropped a difficult chance at
midwicket, again off Harris bowling.
Michael Clarke s sent England in to bat for
the first time after winning every toss this
series. It was only the sixth time he s opted
not to bat first from 20 tosses won since becom-
ing Australia s test captain in 2011.
"I think Michael wanted to lose this one, he
didn t know what to do," Harris said.
The decision shaped to be a poor one early
on as the Australian bowlers struggled to take
"When you win the toss and bowl you want
to make sure you re firing from both ends and
we probably didn t do that," Harris said, "but
once again we pulled it back."
Some tight bowling from Peter Siddle finally
paid off with the wicket of England captain
Alastair Cook in the 17th over.
Cook, whose previous appearance ended
with a golden duck in the second innings of
the third test at Perth, made 27 in a confident
48-run opening partnership with Michael Car-
berry before Siddle tempted him into an edge
to Clarke at second slip.
Opener Carberry, who survived a decision
review for lbw shortly before lunch, appeared
set to bring up just his second half century of
the series before losing his leg stump to all-
rounder Watson for 38. It was the third time
Watson has claimed Carberry s wicket this
Watson continued to look dangerous until
breaking down mid-way through his seventh
over and limping off the field with groin pain.
He later returned to the field after tea.
Harris had Bell caught behind for 27 and
Johnson quickly got a result from the new ball
when he induced nick from Stokes (14) to Wat-
son at first slip and bowled Bairstow, who was
recalled at the expense of veteran wicketkeeper
Matt Prior with England already out of con-
tention in the series. England has been in dis-
array only four months after winning the pre-
vious Ashes series in England, with No. 3
batsman Jonathan Trott quitting the tour with
stress-related issues after the first test and
Graeme Swann retiring after the defeat in the
MELBOURNE---A world record crowd
of 91,092 attended day one of the
fourth Ashes test at the Melbourne
Cricket Ground yesterday to watch
Australia again take the contest to
England. The total crowd surpassed the
previous mark of 90,800 for a single
day of test cricket, also at the MCG, set
on the second day of the fifth test of
the West Indies' tour of Australia in
1961. Despite Australia already
clinching the Ashes 3-0 after the third
test at Perth last week, Australian fans
have been eager to witness the
resurgence of their national team after
three consecutive Ashes series defeats.
"To play in front of 90-plus-thousand
people...the noise out there was
unbelievable," Australia pacemen Ryan
Harris said. Cricket Australia chief
executive James Sutherland said
Melbourne's annual Boxing Day test
has become a "landmark event" for
Australians. The MCG has a maximum
capacity of 100,000, according to its
website, and has attracted bigger
crowds for football and Australian
Rules football matches.
Aussies on top
after Johnson's burst
England 1st innings
AN Cook c Clarke b Siddle
MA Carberry b Watson
JE Root c Haddin b Harris
KP Pietersen not out
IR Bell c Haddin b Harris
BA Stokes c Watson b Johnson
JM Bairstow b Johnson
TT Bresnan not out
Total (6 wickets; 89 overs)
To bat: SCJ Broad, JM Anderson, MS Panesar
Fall of wickets: 1-48 (Cook, 16.5 ov), 2-96
(Carberry, 33.6 ov), 3-106 (Root, 42.1 ov), 4-
173 (Bell, 72.6 ov), 5-202 (Stokes, 80.3 ov), 6-
216 (Bairstow, 84.4 ov)
Bowling: RJ Harris 20-8-32-2, MG Johnson
20-2-59-2, PM Siddle 22-7-48-1, NM Lyon
20.2-3-60-0, SR Watson 6.4-2-11-1
MCG crowd breaks Test attendance world record
England's Ian Bell ducks under a bouncer bowled by Australia's Mitchell Johnson on the first
day of their Ashes cricket Test match, yesterday at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in
Melbourne, Australia. AP PHOTO
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